Adult Boys – perhaps that’s an oxymoron or contradiction in terms? But, in my mind, it’s an apt description of many young adults today; many so-called “millennials,” of which I have two. My two are now out of the house and we are empty nesters. In many ways, I am quite happy and, to my surprise, adjusted very quickly to their absence. In other ways, I’m alarmed or concerned or just mystified (by their generation).
Millennials. MILLENNIALS. Jokes and more surround them. It used to be the Baby Boomers and “my” generation still wants to think it’s all about them. But, WE gotta face reality as we are getting older – the boomers – in spite of botox and face-lifts! This Thursday, September 3 at 6:00 p.m. PT/7:00 p.m. MT/9:00 p.m. ET we will be discussing the IMPACT of Millennials with special guest, Brian Fanzo.
A recent study reflected a remarkable change in parents’ expectations for their children’s future. For the first time in memory, the majority of parents did NOT expect their children to exceed their parent’s fiscal success. And, in my opinion, this is the reality we are currently facing. I had it easier than my boys’ do and will. I was lucky. They may not be so lucky.
The other night we were in a restaurant, no kids, and we heard a little boys uproarious laughing. He was giggling while he watched a little wind-up toy jump and flip in front of his hands. His youngish parents were enjoying his pleasure and delight and I found myself equally caught up in the spirit.
But, it also created a moment of melancholy as I reflected on how so many of those childhood joys were over with my boys. Now, honestly, there are many of those so-called passages that I certainly don’t miss. First on that list is the smell of baby wipes, and everything else that went with the diaper, poop, and changing stages. For years after they were toilet trained, I’d get a whiff of those smells, out of thin air, and breathe a sigh of relief that that phase was over.
For every one of those stages that I don’t miss are those, like in the restaurant, that I actually long for. Like when my boys would reach up and grab a hold of my hand. When walking hand-in-hand was special to them, even when they were so small that their arms were stretched up to reach my hand. I contrast that with my teen now, looking down on me, as I shake my finger up at him and announce “you’re grounded.”
What an interesting contemporary question: will the kids ever leave? I left home at sixteen to go away to college and never returned, except for visits. I stayed close to my parents, and they did help me financially through college, though I worked every summer to supplement my education expenses and pay for my own spending. ShortRib (my wife) and I wonder when will our kids be independent enough to afford to leave?
The other day I talked with a mother who has two teenage daughters. One is graduating from high school this year while the other has two more years to go. I asked what were their plans, and had she discussed it with her husband, and I was surprised to hear she had no clue. Neither she, her husband, or the kids really knew where the girls were heading, especially when it came to the idea of supporting themselves with a real job, after college.